“When Do You Hear Back?!” : Life as a 2nd Year Genetic Counseling Applicant

I am a second year applicant.

In the genetic counseling applicant community, that statement is a badge of courage. Yet it’s one that no one wants. First year applicants look to second year applicants for wisdom… but it’s mostly hoping that maybe they can avoid the same awful fate. I have tried for months to hide my rejection from my first round applying to genetic counseling schools. But now I want to invite others into my story as we journey together to find out what the next chapter will be. This cycle, from now until next April, I will share here my highs and lows, interviews, rejections, awkward limbo waiting games, and more. I’m not ashamed of the struggle to reach this goal.

To be a genetic counselor is to take genetic knowledge out of the lab and straight to the people who need it most– patients with genetic disease in the family. The daily work relies heavily on principles of counseling and psychology as they help families cope with the genetic world. As a genetics-lover and a longtime crisis counselor, I am still in awe every day that somehow there is a perfect career for me.

When something’s so perfect, there’s always a catch. The catch in this case is the 8% acceptance rate to each genetic counseling program. In any given year about 70% of applicants will not receive offers of acceptance from any school. Beginning last year, genetic counseling schools began participating in The Match, which uses a computer algorithm and rank order lists to find the best possible “matches” between schools and applicants they interviewed. I’ll write a post all about it here soon. It’s an 8-month long process from start to finish and many applicants repeat the process 2-3 times before acceptance.

It’s been 5 months since I found out I didn’t match last year, and I still have people ask me when I’ll hear back from the schools I interviewed at, when and where we are moving, etc. It’s a struggle for people to understand that I could be rejected from every school. Luckily, now I can tell them: Next April! Last year I got rejected from GC School at my college graduation. Like literally standing in line to walk across the stage. Check out the #sadgrad picsadgradhaha.jpg

Me and my husband at my grad, featuring my completely faked smile.

It was the worst day! But this year I’m going to make Match Day the best day, or at least write a lot of blog posts as a try to. My message is: it’s okay to struggle to reach your goals, it’s okay to own your roadblocks, and it’s a great time to try to become a genetic counselor.

I’ll post updates weekly, even before anything really happens! I’ll talk about applications, shadowing, Match, interviews, counseling experience, and more. Thanks for joining me.

-Laura Cooper-Hastings

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Earl Seegrist says:

    Hi Laura,
    I love your blog already! To me the shows what a great genetics counselor you will be. So many people just give up on their dreams when they received the first or second rejection letter.
    You have passion and purpose for wanting to be a Genetics Counselor. Being a Genetics Counselor provides great opportunity to bless lives in a real ‘Life-Calling’ kind of way.
    Wishing you all the best!
    Earl Seegrist
    P.S. I am Sister Hannah Seegrist-Neilson’s dad. I am blessed to work as a Pediatric Clinical Psychologist for the US Army. Genetics Counseling is an underserved-growing opportunity to touch so many people in need.


  2. lynne urrutia says:

    I’m with you heart and soul sweetheart! I know we have not been able to be close through the years, but I love you very much and have missed you so much. I love you and believe in you! Love grandma


  3. Kayla says:

    Hi Laura,

    I stumbled across your blog one day on Pinterest. I am 22 years old and genetic counseling is my dream career. Unfortunately I did not get accepted into a program last year but I am hoping to get into a Masters program next year for Genetic Counseling. Thank you for your blog and giving me hope as a second time applicant as well!


    1. journey2gc says:

      Hi Kayla! Thanks for your note. I hope to continue to offer hope for people rejected. I was just matched into Sarah Lawrence College last Friday on my third try. 🥰


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